Sometimes generating more online sales can seem like an uphill struggle. It pays to know the mountain you’re climbing. The 5 steps to climb 1.…
Sometimes generating more online sales can seem like an uphill struggle. It pays to know the mountain you’re climbing.
The 5 steps to climb
We make purchases to fulfil perceived needs or desires. The first step is therefore discovering those needs or desires. At this embryonic stage your social media efforts should be focusing on raising awareness, educating and informing.
The goal here is to reach potential customers and plant the seed that what you’re offering is something they need/ want. You want to create a buzz, delivering interesting content that gets people talking. And you want to come across as the authority on the subject.
This is tipping point that sparks action from passive awareness. It is the beginning of the decision-making process.
You’ve got people who’ve discovered your niche and built some buzz around it. Now you want to turn ‘I’d like that’ into ‘I want/ need it’. This is the time for more targeted, more powerful and timely messages.
The goal isn’t to reach the widest audience, the challenge is to reach individuals and push the right buttons. This is where engagement, actually having conversations, rather than ‘mass marketing’ comes to the fore and where social media shines. Really build that authority.
With the choice to purchase made, now comes considering the options. If you’ve used social media to engage right from discovery and through realisation, it’s all about keeping that conversation going. And that’s much easier than just targeting the consideration stage.
Make sure your audience at this stage are aware of how great your offering is, how it beats the competition and meets all their needs/ desires. Also be sure to combat any negative press and counter what your competitors are up to.
But don’t try to force clumsy and aggressive marketing. Be honest, quick to give advice, build empathy and trust. If you’ve set yourself up as the authority in your niche, then your offering is the logical choice.
With the decision made, your role in this stage is to facilitate the purchase. Social media is a great vehicle for answering last minute questions, providing fast support and helping people actually make the transaction.
This is pure customer service. Be available, ready and willing to help in every way. Don’t fall at the final hurdle. And now is not the time for clumsy aggressive marketing. Conversion depends on all that’s gone before… don’t use social media efforts only to try and push a ‘cold’ conversion.
So you’ve climbed the mountain and landed yourself a new customer. But keeping that customer, repeat business, up-selling, cross-selling, getting a referral, turning that customer into an advocate… there’s still plenty to do before you plant your flag and head home.
Social media is ideal for keeping and building relationships, heading-off problems and creating ongoing opportunities. Customer care, support, keeping clients informed, listening to suggestions, creating a community… all these things make for long-term profitability.
The take home message
Social media is all about influence. Direct measurement of ROI isn’t always easy and doesn’t give the full picture. Make sure you’re influencing every step of typical buying behaviour, not just focusing on driving conversion and counting simple metrics.
Written by Jason John Mills